Editor's note: This corrects John Dowden's city of residence.
COSTA MESA — An elderly man was hospitalized Friday morning after he lost control of his car and crashed into a light pole and another vehicle on Adams Avenue near Albatross Drive, police said.
John Dowden, 73, of Huntington Beach, was taken to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana with cuts, bruises and complaints of chest pain after he broadsided another car, which forced it to flip onto its roof.
Police said he was speeding westbound on Adams, down the hill past Placentia Avenue toward Albatross Drive when he crashed about 10:54 a.m. The light on Adams was phasing to red and Dowden apparently didn't expect the cars ahead of him to stop, which caught him off guard and forced him to swerve to avoid rear-ending them, authorities said.
Dowden veered right and lost control of his 2003 Ford Focus station wagon, smashing into a light pole so hard that his car flew across the street. The Focus then broadsided a 2007 Chevrolet Malibu waiting to turn left onto Adams. The crash flipped the Malibu onto its roof.
"There was no time to really think," said Taylor Stevens of Costa Mesa, driver of the Malibu.
After the car flipped, Stevens and his passenger, Trenton Bonilla of Hollywood, scrambled out of the car without visible injuries.
"I remember thinking, 'We got to get out of here!' because in the movies the cars always blow up after [they flip]," Bonilla said.
The men said they were shaken and were a bit sore, but were otherwise unharmed.
"They're very fortunate to be walking away from this with minimal injuries," said Costa Mesa Police Officer Oscar Reyes. He said today's car technology and the fact they were wearing seat belts prevented more serious injuries.
Dowden will likely get a speeding ticket for the crash, police said.